This is a story of a Polish driver who wanted to work in the UK but was deported and even served a short time in custody.
Jakub has seen a lot of information about how much the British need truck drivers. He has previously lived and worked in the UK for 6 years but now got to the point where he was not satisfied with the return to the Polish labor market. So he decided to try his luck in the UK again boarding the plane in June.
Of course, one had to prepare properly for the trip. Jakub terminated the rental agreement, sold the car, interviewed three potential employers remotely, and began applying for Settled Status. Anybody could have applied for this status by the end of June this year, as long as you are a citizen of an EU country and have spent at least five years in a row in the UK. Thanks to this, you do not have to apply for a normal work visa and stay in the country on simplified terms.
Jakub started an application for his status by submitting a photo of his passport electronically. This is the official form indicated on the British government website. However, to finalize the process, it was still necessary to send his passport in. Jakub was going to do this from Great Britain, in accordance with the procedures applicable to people from EU countries.
And here the problems started. After arriving at Doncaster airport on Monday, June 14, Jakub was asked about the purpose of his entry into the country. He answered truthfully - he wanted to work as a truck driver based on the settled status. He mentioned starting an application for his status and presented the documents.
Although there were more than two weeks until the end of June - that is until the end of application process for settled status - the officer expected Jakub to have either granted settled/pre-settled status or a normal work visa. A visa that must be applied for several weeks in advance, paying in advance from 500 to 1300 GBP.
No explanation helped, and the officer treated him as an illegal labor immigrant. Jakub's documents were taken away from him and he even spent several hours in custody. In the meantime, a decision was made to deport him, scheduled for Sunday evening, June 20. The only good news was that until then, Jakub could have been staying with his family at the address indicated on the coronavirus arrival form. If he did not have such a possibility, he could even end up in a center for illegal immigrants.
During the week of waiting for deportation, Jakub sought all kinds of help. Unfortunately, the Polish embassy did not help, as it was not considered a typical consular matter. On the other hand, the media, including the "The Guardian", managed to get involved.
The newspaper engaged its lawyer to analyze the situation of the Polish driver. This confirmed that the arrival in the country was in full compliance with the procedures and that an official at the airport apparently made a misinterpretation of the rules.
The problem however was that the decision to deport has already been officially inserted. Revoking such a document is not an easy matter, as many officials will be scared to challenge an already issued document. So there was not enough time to resolve the matter. The last conversation with officials at the airport, just before departure, did not help either. For them, the matter was simple - deportation is deportation, analysis of documents does not interest them, and a possible change of decision may take place by an official appeal made from the territory of Poland.
So late in the evening on June,20 Jakub landed at the airport in Gdańsk. He has wasted a week, ended up with unnecessary expenses and a traumatic fight with officials.
But what will happen now? According to the legal representation, it is almost certain that the matter will be resolved and Jakub will be granted settled status, allowing him to come to work. Nevertheless, the disgust is sure to remain, especially seeing reports of a desperate shortage of drivers in the UK.